March 31, 2011

the Evil Wiener & "Feed the Soul" trailer park

Tex-mex weiner
I missed opening day yesterday, but I was there for the evil wiener's 2nd day of official business at 15th and Rio Grande for a late lunch today.  I met with owners Anna Cummins and Roger Zapata who along with their spouses and their combined 6 children created this recent hot dog truck.  Although they have only been open one day they can tell the Revolucion Dog is going to be a best-seller.  It's also a favorite among the owners, as it's namesake is a street on the main drag in Tijuana where they had their first bites of a bacon-wrapped hot dog.  The Evil Wiener's version of the Revolucion is a frank wrapped in bacon with mustard, mayo, ketchup, pico de gallo and tapatillo sauce on top.  I had the Tex-Mex, which includes Roger's carne guisada, cheese and a spicy jalapeno relish that had me reaching for a coke.  My daughter Callie had the french fries, seasoned with 'evil dust'.  For that recipe Roger said would have to kill me, and since he was a marine for 20 years, I'll take his word for it.

Anna's husband Jeff has more than 15 years experience in fine dining.  It was Jeff and Roger who created the evil wiener concept over beers one night, after having worked in the kitchen together.  One thing Anna stressed to me was the importance of putting their families first.  In her words,"The restaurant industry takes you away from your family, so we decided family first, then food."  Their kids have been part of the research and development with family dinner parties and have some summer jobs to look forward to in the trailer.

Anna and crew will be managing the "Feed the Soul" trailer park which is owned by St. Martin's Lutheran Church (across the street).  There will be a total of 8 trailer vendors and the park will be open for business in mid-April complete with picnic tables, trees, public restrooms and shade trees.  She said their would be diverse and unique food trucks including mexican enchiladas/burritos, tacos, philly cheesesteaks, and more to be released soon.  We wish the 'feed the soul' vendors the best of luck in a great new location downtown!

March 29, 2011

Trailer Food on your FACE: the trailer facial

Leftover guacamole is not normally a 'problem' in my household.  It's one of those favorite tex-mex foods I just can't get enough of.  But alas, I had some leftover guacamole from my trailer food adventures today and upon remembering a famous journal entry from 1st grade I was inspired to create the trailer facial.  Said journal entry went something like this: "My Aunt came over and put wokamole all over my mom's face.  I will never put wokamole on my face."  Despite this 20-something-year old vow, I smeared guacamole infused with some other favorite ingredients on my face.  It was emollient, luxurient, and I will definitely be doing this again.  Meanwhile,  I wanted to share the recipe with you, that is good enough to eat and will produce cleopatra-like results on your skin:

Tiffany's Trailer Facial
  • leftover guacamole from your favorite trailer
  • agave
  • coconut oil
  • rose water
  • orange flower water
  • bach flower essences (your choice)
  • lavender essential oil
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice 

March 18, 2011

SXSW trailer food crawl for Lucky J's Friday 3/18/2011

Close to 30 trailers are joining together (separately) to show their support for one of their colleagues: Jason Umlas of Lucky J’s Chicken and Waffles this March 18th (Friday) during South by Southwest. You may recognize Lucky J’s from being in the news recently when one of his trailers was stolen on Christmas day, but that was just one of a series of unlucky events in 2010 that led to the current fund raising quest. After losing his youngest son Lev to cancer, his marriage, and then his trailer in 2010 no one would blame Jason if he gave up. But Jason has been given a new opportunity with the GIFT of a brick and mortar restaurant. When I have spoken with Jason, his spirits are humble and he is optimistic. In his words, “I don’t want help cleaning up my past; I want help with my future.” So in efforts to support a fellow trailer food vendor, these business owners (listed below) have agreed to give up to 10% of their sales to friend Jason for help starting his future.
I have been heavily involved in the trailer food scene in Austin since February of 2010, and can tell you whole-heartedly this community is one of the things that makes me proud to be an Austinite. Not only are the business-owners giving with open arms a percentage of sales on one of their busiest days of the year (arguably their biggest opportunity for income in 2011) to help a friend in need with a huge opportunity on the table, Jason is grateful that something that was meant to benefit his future was also going to help create traffic flow to his cohorts.

Whether you live in town or are visiting our great city, please mark Friday, March 18th on your calendar and eat at one or more of the following trailer food venues with a ‘choose your own adventure’ trailer-style. Below I have listed each of the participating trailers with links to their stories. Please check with each of them for location and hours as things may change during the fun chaos that is SXSW.


Lucky j’s
The local yolk
Iggi’s Texitarian
Old School BBQ & Grill
Trailer Perk


One Taco
Colibri Cuisine
South Lamar
Texas Cuban


The frigid frog
Crepes Mille
Flying Carpet


Man Bites Dog
Holy Cacao

Barton Springs

Kate’s Southern Comfort
Sushi A Go Go

Roving/Unsure of location

The peached tortilla
86 This
Short Bus Subs
Ice Queens
Ugly Banjos
The coffee trailer / hallowed grounds

Counter culture
Elixer Coffee

March 15, 2011

SXSW trailer opportunities and fun finds

SXSW stands for "South by South West" - it's is THE coolest interactive and music event that takes place over Spring Break in Austin, Texas.  For some who live here and are frustrated by the influx of traffic, the initials stand for so, by so what.  For those who are thrilled the global music and itneractive scene has showed up at their back door, it's 'hell by hell yesss'.  Either way, SXSW is happening in Austin this week and I've already had some incredible opportunties in trailer food land that I wanted to share right away.  But before I get to my 'finds', I wanted to make sure to share three super fun things:

 1 - Our Trailer Food Diaries printed GUIDE/DIRECTORY is free! and it's out!  I gave 1,000 copies away yesterday and am doing the same volume all week long.  Many thanks to Torquil at October Custom Pubishing and Rusty at Ginny's Printing.  Thank you advertisers! (kindly email me if you'd like to adverstise in the fall directory:

2 - If you need ideas for trailer food vendors to visit while you're in town, check my new 'Tiff's picks' page at the top of this blog.... I have posted what our trailer food vendors recommend on where they like to eat.  It's a bit of a cop out so I don't have to answer that dreaded question (what's your favorite trailer) - but, it works.

3 - TRAILER FOOD CRAWL TO BENEFIT LUCKY J'S CHICKEN & WAFFLES - THIS FRIDAY 3/18/11 - I love our trailer food community here in ATX - about 30 vendors are donating a portion of their sales to go to a vendor in need, who had a particularly rough last year with the loss of his youngest son to cancer, the loss of his marriage, a trailer that got stolen on Christmas and not to mention the 'normal; bumps in the road.  Jason Umlas, owner of Lucky J's has a positive attitude about his future and has recently opened a brick and mortar restaurant in addition to his trailer(s) (which, to clear up any misconceptions was a gift to him).  See subsequent post for a list of participating trailers.

Backing up into the fun I've stirred up already...

Chi'Lantro bulgogi beef fries
I was at 3rd and Colorado with  Torchy's Tacos, Chi'Lantro BBQ, and Coolhaus Ice Cream - all = yum.  I've been eating with these guys for a year now, but my favorite 'new' thing I tried was the chicken quesadillas at Chi'Lantro, which tasted like bbq chicken but asian with gooey cheddar cheese and a perfectly crisped buttery tortilla.  Executive Chef "Bex" popped her head through the window for a spell - tell her trailer food diaries sent you if you check out Chi'Lantro this week (as you well should!).  You can find them on twitter

Kimberly, Tiff, Marla, Joni
The pork experiment on Sunday was not a boar (insert laugh).  I met my freind Kimberly Key, author and blogger for Psychology Today, who connected with many of the pork foodies with her love of bread pudding (yes, there is a bread pudding recipe involving bacon).  Mentor and friend Marla Camp, publisher of Edible Austin, was there judging.  Although I don't know her favorites of the day, I'm going to say "not that Martha" was tops on my list.   On a personal note, I loved that not-that-martha and her partner Jo are 6 months into a 'year' of not eating out and not buying new clothes.  (They both looked great, and the food was SO good - I'm hoping for a dinner invite soon!).  Also pictured was new friend Joni, who was there with Chameleon Cold Brew, newly launched organic fair trade coffee company here in ATX.
Tif & co-founder Nick Suarez

Torchy's with ATX sky line

I spent some time promoting Royito's hot sauce with my Royito's friends at a fun GSD&M/google event.  If you haven't heard about what Roy Spence of GSD&M is doing to work his way down the corporate ladder with his hot sauce company, and you haven't tasted the salsa yet - check out the story and the sauce before you get out of town.  Inspired by lessons from his Dad, Royito's stands for entrepreneurialism and supports small businesses.  Royito's is kind of like the Tom's Shoes of hot sauce, in that you have an immediate feel-good, do-good, be-good effect when you eat it (plus it's the best salsa in Texas if you ask me).  In short, the Royito's 'lessons' as I call them are to 1 - be kind to everyone, 2 - simplify your life, and 3 - don't do mild (in anything!).  Royito's is going to be giving away more free salsa (and beer and music) on St. Patty's day, curbside, at 6th and lamar.  Check out this cool airstream with a mission. 

Maria of the Flying Carpet
My friends the Flying Carpet were there serving delicious moroccan food alongside Mark Bradly of Ciao Chow Catering, Royito's and Coolhaus Ice Cream sandwiches at a very fun industry party.  Party in your pallette!

I helped bring some trailer food vendors to the Plutopia event which was themed with 'play' and held at the Mexican American Cultural Center.  Besides the trailers, the coolest thing there were some plants that had been flown in from France.  When you touched them, they played enchanting musical sounds.  I ate the pork banmhi slider and the pad thai taco from the Peached Tortilla, and sampled bbq and moonshine tea from Sugar Shack.  Torchy's had our amazing crew serving up green chile pork tacos, chicken fajita tacos and bean and cheese tacos.  And Jon with the Best Wurst brought his game with his fan favorite sausages.  Bloggers at the event attracted over 180,00 hits.  Stay tuned for more SXSW stories from trailer food land!
Eric of the Peached Tortilla and Tif


March 7, 2011

List of Trailers & SXSW guide to trailers

We've been busy shooting our trailer and pilot episodes, but wanted to let you know the Spring Directory for Trailer Food Diaries is up!  We will have a free printed copy for you circulating throughout various official and unofficial SXSW events. 

Also, we're starting to pre-sell the cookbook at $12 (40% off retail price).  Check out the button on our home page to purchase.  We will ship your orders with the first printing in September.

March 2, 2011

From Trailer to Brick and Mortar – examining the leap (+ trailer moves and updates)

Some trailer vendors start out with dreams of opening a brick and mortar restaurant, and some restaurateurs expand their businesses by opening trailers. For example, the incredibly successful Torchy’s Tacos started in a single taco trailer in 2006 and they now have 7 permanent restaurant locations throughout Texas. Conversely, Hat Creek Burgers started with their brick and mortar establishment and expanded business by taking their trailer to local sporting events.
One area of town is becoming the new spot for trailers to take up permanent residency in a restaurant setting; we’re talking about Burnet Road. Yep, Burnet Rd is blowing up with trailers that now have brick and mortars: Cutie Pie Wagon, Man Bites Dog, Lucky J’s, Hat Creek Burgers, & Hey Cupcake are on my radar. To the best of my knowledge, everyone is keeping their airstreams/trailers open, and are expanding their businesses with these new permanent addresses for restaurants:

• Cutie Pie Wagon: 7329 Burnet Rd

• Man Bites Dog: on Burnet road between Hancock and N. Loop road

• Lucky Js’ Chicken & Waffles: 5035 Burnet Rd

• Hat Creek Burgers: 5400 Burnet Rd

• Hey Cupcake: 5530 Burnet Road

Other trailers opening permanent locations:

• Odd Duck opened up a brick and mortar called Barley Swine on 2024 S. Lamar

• FN Goode Burger is opening “The Real Deal Kitchen”, their 2nd site, March 1st inside the Hold in the Wall. They will still have their trailer at the Local Pub and Patio (formerly Little Woodrow’s on the Drag).

• Franklin BBQ is moving out of the trailer and into their permanent home on 11th St

Other moves and additions in trailer food land:

• The Peached Tortilla is opening their second location on the drag at Dean Keaton and Guadalupe

• Smokilicious moved from South Congress/Gibson to the Crow Bar, 3116 S. Congress Ave., across from St. Edwards University

• The Flying Carpet – now open for lunches in addition to dinners with expanded menu